Scaling the Texas Mexico Border Trip

So for the past how many months and, actually, closer to a year, I’ve been having a lot of work piling up at a number of our port of entry (POE) locations. It’s interesting that when I would cross into Canada and they would ask me my occupation, I would mention how part of my job is hitting up POEs on the Texas-Mexico border and doing IT work there. I was hoping this would be sufficient to not get me pulled into secondary questioning. I was pumped up for the longest time to take this trip, but things kept getting delayed.

Fast forward to me getting back from my Wisconsin vacation. It was slated for 4 months I’d be on the road deploying Microsoft Surfaces. With that, this POE work still needed to be done and there was a slight gap where I’d be able to do it before I’d hit the road for the Microsoft Surface deployment. I put an itinerary together and my boss approved it, so I was set to hit the road for my border trip.

The work I had to perform was either replacing the current AVPN router with a cellular Cisco 819 router with geofencing or geofencing the already deployed Cisco 819 routers. I’d start in Brownsville and make my way across the border, eventually ending up in El Paso.

My itinerary consisted of:

Day 1: Driving to Brownsville and doing work at the Veterans and B&M bridges. I’d stay in Brownsville for the night.

Day 2: Driving to the Los Indios, Progreso, Donna, and Pharr POE’s and doing work at each POE. I’d stay in Pharr for the night.

Day 3: Driving to Hidalgo, Anzalduas, and Laredo and doing work there. I’d stay the night in Laredo.

Day 4: Driving to Fabens, doing work there, and then driving to El Paso and staying the night there.

Day 5: Working in El Paso and riding with an agent to hit up the Paso Del Norte (PDN) and Bridge of the Americas (BOTA) bridges. I’d then stay the weekend in El Paso to start the Surface Deployment Monday.

For day 1, everything went to schedule and I did a lot of driving to get down to the border, but one day 2, a wrench got thrown into the gears. I was able to correct and get back on schedule after day 3. Day 4, was a lot of driving in the absolute middle of nowhere. Day 5, was a lot of fun since I got to ride shotgun and an agent took me to the different POE’s.

There was definitely a lot of driving on this trip, and for the first 3 days, it was very hot. One other thing that I definitely was afraid of was driving into Mexico. I know I came very close on some occasions since it’s very hard to get to some of the booths. Also, GPS often took me to the general area and didn’t have a “take me to the border” feature, so it was interesting finding some of the booths. Overall, it was a lot of fun seeing the different border locations and taking in some of the culture. Some of the days were very long, but I did get a lot done.

The following is the 1200-mile route I took to do this trip:

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